Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media.This week’s item is from Deseret Morning News, August 11, 2007, with a headline:“Book Explores the Life of Islam’s Founder.”The following are excerpts:BYU author aims to educate.As Director of the Middle Eastern text initiative at BrighamYoungUniversity, Daniel Peterson has written a book designed to help Western laymen understand the founder of Islam.Muslim scholars have praised the book as the best scholarly text on the prophet Muhammad written by a Christian, Muhammad, Prophet of God, provides a narrative of Muhammad’s life that weaves his revelations, his inspiration and his personal relationships together in a clear fluid style that makes it suitable for both scholars and non scholars, according to Kaleo Muhammad of San Diego State University.After 9/11, Peterson said he visited Christian bookstores to see what kinds of books were being published about Islam and was largely dismayed by what he found. Much of it the same type of hateful rhetoric that has traditionally been directed toward the LDS church.Sometimes it was those same anti Mormon people doing the writing, and it’s just horrible stuff, he said.For scholars who know anything about Islam such books are beneath their dignity to even respond to, he said.He’s collected from 30 to 40 books that provide blatant misinterpretation of Islam, and is looking to counter those characterizations at every turn, he said.Regarded by Muslims as the last in a series of biblical prophets, including Jesus, Muhammad is known as the seal of the prophets by most, he said, much like the wax seal on a letter that confirms the integrity of its content so they won’t be tampered with. In fact, the Muslim concept of a prophet is not so different from the one that people would recognize in Utah.Now he is garnering a reputation for defending a faith that is not his own, but Peterson said he’s okay with that role.I’m a very active Latter Day Saint but I found myself in this role of being a defender of Islam.I just think somebody has to do something.
Dave, it’s not surprising that a Mormon would defend Islam because there are so many things about both religions that are similar.Muhammad had an angel, supposedly, appearing to him—the angel Gabriel.Mormons believe that the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith.But basically, both religions are, for the most part, fiction.I say from the most part because they have gleaned some other things from Christianity, some things from the Old Testament.But Dave, I need some help here, because I’m not quite sure…. Do Mormons believe that they are really descendants from the Jew?I know, certainly they say that the native Indians, and so on, or Hebrews, but would they connect themselves with the Hebrew people in that way?
There is no end to the weird ideas you will find in the Mormon church.Joseph Smith found the altar that Adam and Eve built in Independence, Missouri, and that was going to be the headquarters.And somehow that didn’t work out and Brigham Young led them off to Salt Lake City, but the Second Coming of Christ is going to take place back there in Missouri.Joseph Smith, when he needed a revelation, he needed justification for having a lot of wives—they’re only supposed to have 4, and Brigham Young made that very clear.But Joseph Smith, I don’t know how many he had, 20 some, something like that.Well, whenever Joseph Smith needed a revelation, what do you know? There it was in the Book of Mormon, which he wrote himself, pretending to translate it from tablets of gold, which has been proven false, it’s a joke.But Muhammad was the same.Whenever he needed a new revelation, Allah gave it to him.He wanted someone else’s wife, he got a revelation!The husband had to divorce her, and she had to marry Muhammad.His first three attacks on caravans failed.Well then he got a new revelation.Ramadan has always been a time of peace, the Arab practice for centuries before Muhammad was born, this is not Islam.But it was a time of peace, you didn’t fight anyone.Well, what do you know? Muhammad got a revelation, it’s in the Qur’an, that it was okay for Muslims to fight during Ramadan.So they attacked a caravan during Ramadan, it was a surprise, nobody expected it, and that was his first success.So, whenever Muhammad needed a revelation he got it, like Joseph Smith.That’s one similarity, they are both works religions, but really there is no certainty of getting to heaven in either one.Joseph Smith said it could take eons of time—you’ve got to climb up this ladder to get to realize that you’re a god!Islam doesn’t quite go that far, but it’s got a false god exactly as the god of the Mormons is.I’m relating it to Hinduism because the Mormons, they’ve got more gods than the Hindus, the Hindus only have 330 million, approximately.There’s an infinite number of gods and if we’ve got one thousand Mormons males living on the earth right now and they go through the temple and somehow they reach godhood eventually, there will be another thousand gods.There are millions and millions and billions and trillions of these gods.So, they’ve got a phony scriptures, both of them, and there are—well, they did practice blood atonement—the Mormons did, and certainly that is part of Islam to this day.You deny the faith—we kill you!Tom, to get back to your original question- Do Mormons think they are Jews?Well, as you said, they believe the native American Indians are.Utah is the only state in the country where Jews are Gentiles.Mormons are the real Jews, according to what they say.
Dave, I find that ironic, because Peterson’s book, Muhammad Prophet of God, which is recommended by these Muslims, if they are Jews and the Muslims hate Jews, how does that work.